Meet Colleen a mother, wife and an entrepreneur who started “2 Sisters Handcrafted” from an idea, that evolved into a dream come true. Her creative pieces have been worn on many celebrities and been seen on the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries.
Her entrepreneur story of inspiration is truly the meaning behind running through an open door and following your dreams.
Grab a tea and take a” Me” moment, you deserve it.
Tell us a bit about yourself, hobbies, interests, family, kids, husband, wife, pets, and your home life.
I’m currently a work at home mom of 2 girly girls for which I named the company after, THE 2 Sisters. I’m happily married to my best friend and high school sweetheart. My work background was as a high end retail sales manager, turned district manager turner company sales trainer. I’ve always been a creative and artsy person. This business has become a dream job where I get to do what I love best coupled with my sales and customer service experience while making my girls a priority. A touch about me, I live for good strong coffee, loud music while singing out loud (badly) and traveling with the family. We love to turn a bad situation into a fun family memory, negative to a positive is how we try to live 🙂
What inspired you start your business?
I love to take your personal stories and turn them into one of a kind, personalized jewel and accessories for everyone in the family. All of my pieces can be personalized with names, dates, initials, coordinates to a special location, love messages or secret messages. No two pieces will ever be the same and each one is made to order, specifically for you.
How did you come up with the concept of your business?
I ordered 2 personalized pieces for my mother and mother in-law on Christmas. I loved that I was able to have something with my girl’s unique names on it and wanted one for myself. Having always been creative, I was inspired to invest in some basic tools to make a piece for myself instead of spending the money on just one more piece.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
This has been the most difficult aspect of being an entrepreneur. Being that every piece is personalized, clients have many questions before and after they place an order. Emails come in all time of the day and night. In the beginning I would drop everything to answer ASAP to be able to make a sale. Now with on average of approx. 150-200 emails a day, I schedule my day with emails in the am before my girls wake up and in the afternoon after I’ve picked them up from school when they just want to relax anyway. If I get a chance, I answer more emails in the evening as well. All production is done between the hours of 9am-3pm. I don’t interrupt my studio time so I can get orders fulfilled and shipped.
What is the best advice you can give to working moms, juggling it all?
Make a schedule and stick to it. Message will always be coming in, there will always still be something that needs to be done but if you can schedule your priorities, avoid social media during “work hours” then it will make for a much more productive day.
Do you find working from home challenging? Or is it a breeze?
My girls are older now at 7 and almost 11 years old. I am now able to tell them not to interrupt between a certain periods of time. They don’t always listen but are usually pretty good. I set them up with crafts, tasks, activities of some kind while in my studio (within my home) and when I’ve said I would stop working I do. Even if it’s just a half hour break to make lunch or pay attention to the art they’ve done. Following through with my promise makes it easier to be able to get back to work.
What have been some of your major successes in business?
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to send my pieces to be included in The Oscars, The Emmys, The CMAs and The MTV Movie Awards celebrity swag bags. I’ve had pieces worn on TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries and gifted to celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Sarah Jessica Parker and many more. I received custom orders from Nia Peeples and Canadian Olympic medalist Silken Lauman for herself, husband to be wedding party in her 2014 wedding.
What have been some of your major challenges in business?
Although it’s a great problem to have, I find I’ve been working hard to keep my business small and manageable while my girls are at this young of an age. I do very little marketing and promotion because I am one person handling all aspects of the business from product development and production, photography, ordering supplies, packaging, shipping and receiving, all customer and supplier communications as well as order fulfilment. My marketing is limited to social media posts and blogger giveaway and contributions.
What is next for your business? Any secrets you want to share?
Selling wholesale to retailers. I am working on a wholesale collection and line sheet available soon. Hopefully 2 Sisters Handcrafted will be found in a super cool boutique near you soon.
5 years from now, what is your vision?
In five years my girls will be old enough to be able to handle my being less available. I will have hired staff to deal with operations and production for online and wholesale accounts. I’ll be on my way to ruling the world, Lol!
What did you do in your past work life?
My working past was all in retails sales as a manager and district manager, management training and training development. This has prepared me for the sales aspect of my business by understanding the importance of customer service, asking for and closing the sale as well as focusing on the bottom line and profitability of a design.
Are you living your dream?
Yes! Being able to work from home and make my children a priority while being creative and building a business of doing what I love is absolutely a dream come true.
Who are you really?
I am extremely introverted! Having an online store allows be to interact with my clients and strangers in a way that I probably would not be able to do in person. I’m confident in my business and creative skills however have a difficult time promoting myself in person. Every decision I make is based on how it will affect my family. I’ve had some fabulous opportunities to participate in high profile shows and events, however if it interferes with my family I turn the opportunity down. I was invited to participate at a high profile handmade art show as their gust, no fees but it was taking place during the weekend of my daughter’s birthday. My girls will only be young once. Personally, I’m a coffee lover, positive thinker, promoter of loving relationships of all kinds, girl power, supporter of women in business, foodie whose idea of a good time is cuddling on the couch with a fire and a completely trashy reality TV show.
What one word describes you?
She believed she could, so she did!
Beach or Snow, where would the perfect vacation spot be?
Absolutely beach. I live in central Canada but within the Snowbelt. I get enough of the stuff yearly and would be happy to leave it behind any chance I could get!!!
Looking back to your high school days, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?
Its ok to be different. Don’t give up on your dreams. Work hard to play hard. Don’t wait for something to happen in life, go make it happen!
Give us a sneak peek, what would be on your to-do list today?
Coffee, emails – wake kids & get ready for school – drive kids to school – emails – blog questionnaire – a different blog feature follow up – production – packaging – shipping – deliveries to post office – renew my licence and health card (just had a birthday) – pick up children – post on social media while waiting for the school bell – make snacks and settle kids – answer emails – make dinner – do homework – bedtime routine – veg with some TV so I can shut my brain off – read in bed – sweet sleep 🙂
What do you daydream about?
Being a brand name people recognize and travelling more with the family
What is your favorite song on the radio?
Currently Ed Sheerans Thinking Out Loud. I sent the video and song to my husband of 17 years because it reminds me of him and us. He works shift work so we send messages to each other when we can.
Wine, Beer, Martine, Coffee or Tea, what’s your drink choice?
COFFEE and water all day all the time! But I do love a corona with lime or Skinny Girl Margarita the odd weekend. I’m not much of a drinker.
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